Meet our visiting postdoctoral researcher Güliz Karaarslan Semiz

Güliz Karaarslan Semiz is a visiting postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Teaching and Learning. In her project she is focusing on secondary schools dealing with sustainability issues.

Güliz Karaarslan Semiz
Güliz Karaarslan Semiz

Güliz work as an assistant professor in Turkey Ağrı University. She took her master and PhD in mathematics and science education at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.

Güliz Karaarslan Semiz’s mission as postdoctoral researcher at Stockholm University is for one year and in her project she is focusing on secondary schools dealing with sustainability issues. She is investigating – and comparing – how eco-schools and sustainable schools in Sweden and Turkey implement education for sustainable development in all aspects of school life. She is also looking deeper into how they are doing at the institutional level to reduce schools ecological footprint.

– I am examining these green schools from a systemic perspective to understand what their strong sides are and what challenges they face, says Güliz. I'm trying to get ideas how schools can adapt Whole School Approach (WSA) as a practical instrument to integrate sustainability in all aspects of school life.

– Schools play an important role to reorient and transform education by considering global sustainability questions and preparing young learners to be active citizens in the future. Today we see all around the world young learners demand to learn more about climate change and sustainability issues at school, and they want to be a part of the solution, Güliz assures. Schools are a good starting point as students can learn, discuss sustainability issues and they have the chance to be change-agents in their own society. Therefore, using whole school approach as a tool, is an effective way of implementing the principles of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at secondary schools.


Sweden inspires me

– The seeds of environmental and sustainability education were planted in line with the human and environment conference held in Stockholm 1972. This was the United Nations first major international conference where they discussed these issues on a global level, says Güliz. After that several of important conferences took place. So, Sweden has a long history of teaching and learning in sustainability, and that is one of the main reasons I wanted to come here.

– There is also many different types of green schools here, that are implementing sustainability oriented education. I can see sustainability practices everywhere in Sweden. In all kinds of daily life patterns, such as the city planning, how urban life and nature connect to each other and how people, especially children, can explore nature in their close environment. All these things inspired me very much, says Güliz.

– Sweden gives much importance to science and technology – and how to integrate this with sustainability. There is a lot of centers, researchers and educators dealing with sustainability matters in the university. Therefore I'm very happy to be here. This learning environment will contribute both to my academic and teaching career.


Future plans

– My future plan is to continue working with teachers and teacher candidates about teaching and learning of sustainability at schools, says Güliz. I want to continue my collaboration with researchers and educators in Swedish universities. I also would like to build a collaboration between Turkish and Swedish schools, so they can share their experiences and learn from each other. If we work together, we can have a better future, Güliz concludes.